When Logan hits theaters in March, Hugh Jackman's final go as Wolverine will hardly be the most talked about topic by people walking out of movie theaters. It's not going to be Charles Xavier or the Reavers. It's going to be a new, young face in 20th Century Fox's X-Men movie universe.
The best part of Logan may very well turn out to be Dafne Keen's portrayal of Laura Kinney -- a.k.a. X-23.
X-23 is an astounding addition to the X-Men movie universe. The character brings a level of heart, grit, and jaw-dropping action to the big screen in a manner which is exactly what a Wolverine movie needed. We just didn't know it until now.
"One of the things we've never had to see Logan contend with is the rigors of parenthood," Logan director James Mangold told ComicBook.com. "In this case, Logan being a hot-tempered, foul-mouthed, prone to violence loner, when he meets his own relfection in a child. That's gonna cause some sparks in a relationship that I think are what happen in the remainder of the movie that you haven't seen."
A few weeks ago in New York City, 20th Century Fox unveiled X-23 when they screened the first 40 minutes of Logan to a select group of press.
In those first 40 minutes, X-23 is not only introduced, but hurled into an intense, very much R-rated action sequence comparable only to Deadpool's attack on Stryker's aircraft carrier hideout. She flew from enemy to enemy, leaping from one to the other and clawing her way to merciless victory -- ruthlessly killing one machine-gun-armed-bad guy after the other. It all starts with an enemy finding her in a hiding place only to have his head delivered to the Reavers, immediately letting us know this little girl means business.
As Mangold said, the character is a reflection of Jackman's Wolverine. What makes her such a standout is the awe inspired by watching a young girl be let loose like an animal upon enemies. It's a sense of originality and disbelief all rolled into impressively shot, choreographed, and directed action sequences.
The heart of X-23 comes from her struggle, though. Despite being a powerful mutant similar to Wolverine, she struggles as any child who is different from others might. Not only is she in danger, being sought after by Boyd Holbrook's Donald Pierce, but she has trouble speaking, let alone fitting in anywhere.
Early losses for the little girl will have audiences attached to her along with the relationship to Logan. Jackman and Keen are able to craft the troubled connection between the two, mostly because Logan does not want the responsibility of looking after her any more than he actually wants to care for anyone other than himself. The R-rated Logan is gritty and cold -- saying the F-word frequently and jabbing his claws through skulls on a moment's notice -- so looking after a kid who is "a lot like him" in the words of Professor X is certinly not ideal.
With the stage set for Logan to develop a relationship with a kid who might turn out to be his own, it might be X-23 and her time with the animalistic mutant which makes Logan the best entry to Wolverine saga.
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Logan hits theaters March 3, 2017.